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So You Want to Photograph Weddings — Here's a Quick Guide to Getting Started

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A wedding is often one of the most important days in a couple’s lives, and as the wedding photographer, there’s a lot of pressure on you to capture those memories in the best way possible. This lesson is a quick guide to everything you’ll need to think about when starting out.

How to Start a Wedding Photography Practice

Think About Your Offering

What you'll offer is a tricky one and this might change over time — that's perfectly normal — businesses are always evolving and developing, and there's no shame in you deciding that something isn't working out well and changing it. It’s all about whatever is right for you and for your clients. The trick to starting is to start start practicing. Give yourself a small assignment that will help you build your photographic skills and your wedding portfolio.

A table laid out for a weddingA table laid out for a weddingA table laid out for a wedding
A table laid out for a wedding / Twenty-20 - no longer available

Get Your Paperwork in Place

Deciding to become a wedding photographer is a big thing and takes a lot of preparation and determination when starting out. It’s so important to be properly insured and make sure paper work such as contracts and licenses are all in order. It can be the most boring part for some people, but without it, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Once it's all in place you can rest much easier knowing that you're covered from anything to have your kit stolen to being sued because you ruined the photos.

Build Your First Portfolio

Remember, when looking for wedding pictures to display, they don't necessarily have to come from a wedding. Explore co-promotes with other companies, set up photoshoots with models or even friends, or look into attending wedding fairs with fashion shows.

A photographer choosing images / Envato ElementsA photographer choosing images / Envato ElementsA photographer choosing images / Envato Elements
A photographer choosing images / Envato Elements

Choosing and Editing Your Images

When it comes to choosing your images, remember not to discard any, just move them to another folder in case you decide to come back to anything later. Make several passes until you're happy that you've got the main photographs that you want to start editing, and when you do, keep your style consistent regardless of whether you choose to use actions.

A fun wedding photoA fun wedding photoA fun wedding photo
A fun wedding photo / Twenty-20 - no longer available

Be Visible

Make sure your website, social media, and portfolio are all up to date and look professional. Sometimes it can be hard for us to see this when we're too close, so think about a professional portfolio review or failing that, have a trusted professional wedding photographer have a look at it and give you advice.

Get Comfortable Your Camera and Lighting

Kit isn't everything but you do need the essentials and then backups of those. Remember to include fast prime lenses in your kit if possible but don't discount the usefulness of zooms, wide-angle and macro lenses either.

A flash or speed light is essential but be clever with your light and use natural or environmental light when you can.

Create a Great Relationship with your Clients

Invest in your clients, make them feel valued, and soon you'll see your business flourish by word of mouth. Get to know your couple so that you can deliver the best possible service for them and make them feel comfortable and confident in your ability to do your job.

Prepare, Be Confident, Stay Calm, Look After Yourself!

When you have your itinerary, prepare as much as you can by pre-visiting venues working out timings and making a list of essential shots of the day on the day itself, then refer to that list and make sure you get everything you wanted plus everything else you can think of, no detail is too unimportant.

Don't be afraid to be firm with people but remember to be polite and try to make everything as fun as possible stay calm if something should go wrong even if you don’t feel it. Take control of the situation and know that you're perfectly capable of resolving it.

Take water and snacks, and have a break when appropriate, also making use of the time to backup your images while you eat.

Added Value

Finally, finally think about what more you can give to your client to make them feel valued and like they got way more than they paid for. It'll be a relatively little cost to you to throw in an added extra but to them it could mean the world and help you get great feedback.

More Wedding Photography Resources

About The Authors

Marie Gardiner created the video course that includes this lesson, and wrote the updated text version. Marie is a writer and photographer from England, with a background in media.

This lesson was edited and published by Jackson Couse. Jackson is a photographer and the editor of the Photo & Video section of Envato Tuts+.

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